Psychological distress and self-rated oral health among a convenience sample of Indigenous Australians Academic Article uri icon


  • This study sought to: a) estimate the frequency of poor self-rated oral health as assessed by a summary measure; b) compare frequency according to sociodemographic, behavioral, and psychological distress factors; and (3) determine if psychological distress was associated with poor self-rated oral health after adjusting for confounding.Data were from a convenience sample of Indigenous Australian adults (n = 289) residing in Australia's Northern Territory. Poor self-rated oral health was defined as reported experience of toothache, poor dental appearance or food avoidance in the last 12 months. A logistic regression model was used to evaluate socio-demographic, behavioral, and psychological distress associations with poor self-rated oral health (SROH). Effects were quantified as odds ratios (OR).The frequency of poor SROH was 73.7 percent. High psychological distress, measured by a Kessler-6 score ≥8, was experienced by 33.9 percent of participants. Poor SROH was associated with high levels of psychological distress, being older, being female, and usually visiting a dentist because of a problem. In the multivariable model, factors that were significantly associated with poor SROH after adjustment for other covariates included having a high level of psychological distress (OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.25-6.00), being female (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.03-4.78), and usually visiting a dentist because of a problem (OR 3.57, 95% CI 1.89-6.76).Poor self-rated oral health and high levels of psychological distress were both highly frequent among this vulnerable population. Psychological distress was significantly associated with poor self-rated oral health after adjustment for confounding.


  • Amarasena, N
  • Kapellas, K
  • Brown, A
  • Skilton, MR
  • Maple-Brown, LJ
  • Bartold, MP
  • O'Dea, K
  • Celermajer, D
  • Slade, GD
  • Jamieson, L

publication date

  • 2015